Rochester

Originally posted on Blogger on 29 March 2015

As I’ve written before, I’m currently taking a class about the England of the Magna Carta. I’m studying the factors that led to the barons forcing King John to sign the Magna Carta in June 1215. On 27 March, our lecturer took us on a class trip to Rochester which was an important city in 13th century England.

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A street. We went for the historical significance, but it’s also gorgeous as a city

We went to see two buildings that were at the heart of the city in the 13th century – the castle and the cathedral. The cathedral is still used for services today, but the castle – like so many of its counterparts – has become a tourist destination.

We took a train from St Pancras International to Rochester, where we spent the late morning touring the castle, listening to our lecturer talk about the history and why certain architectural features existed. One of these architectural features is that three of the castle’s towers are square, whereas one of them is curved. In 1215, the barons had captured Rochester from King John. King John wanted to get the city back, so he besieged the castle, ordering men to dig under one of the towers. When the tunnel had been dug and had been supported by wooden pilings, they were then in a position where they had to get the men out. The wooden pilings were replaced by pigs. When the tower was destroyed later in the battle, the pigs were killed, but all the men survived.

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The castle from the road

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The entrance visitors would’ve used in the 13th century

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The view from the top of the castle. I had a bit of a Hamlet guard moment standing there

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After the castle, we were given an hour for lunch. Christina, Nicole and I went to a pub.

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The pub
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When in England…

After lunch, we walked back to the meeting place and went in the cathedral. For this part, we were divided into two groups and were given a guided tour.

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The outside of Rochester Cathedral

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Not sure what this was originally used for, but I’m re-watching Merlin at the moment, so I was reminded of the Isle of the Blessed
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They started turning the cathedral into a Gothic-style one with the more pointed arches because the style had changed and because pointed arches were more stable than the rounded ones, but they ran out of money
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Hard to see, but written on this pillar is a warning to everyone who lived in Rochester to be on their guard. King John was arriving and he wanted the city back under his control

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The wallpaper of the choir. It shows the lion of England and the fleur-de-lis of France. Traditionally, through Edward III, the Kings of England laid claim to the Throne of France
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Old flags
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The eagle lectern. Eagles are the highest flying birds in the sky. In Christianity, they are believed to carry the Word of God

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